The second half of the National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition begins this weekend as the teams begin to face each other for the second time this season. After last weekend’s thrilling round of fixtures we’re hoping for more of the same as the race towards the end of the season heats up.
Our Match of the Round takes us to Blacktown International Sports Centre as Prospect United host Fraser Park with both sides coming off disappointing results in Round 11.
Elsewhere, Western Rage travel to Bathurst to play Western NSW, Camden host Parramatta FC, Nepean battle Hawkesbury, UNSW and Hurstville face off at Hensley Athletic.
The weekend is rounded out by South Coast Flame heading up to the Hunter to play Newcastle.
Match of the Round
Prospect United SC vs Fraser Park FC, 3pm @ Blacktown International Sports Centre
Prospect United are on the back of three consecutive draws and will have to be left wondering what could have been in the first half of the season. Prospect are tied first in the draw column with five draws from their opening ten games. They enter this matchup on the heels of a bitter draw with the Rage giving up three goals in the second half after having a two goal buffer.
Prospect are always a chance when they’re at their best and may of caught Fraser Park at an opportunistic time considering their performance last week against the Jets. Alex Araujo was the first time admit his side weren’t at their usual best and will want a quick turnaround in order to regain their breathing space on the Jets in second. With an injection of a few new signings, Fraser Park could be a rejuvenated side as they gear up for the second half of the season.
Previous Matchup: Prospect United SC 0-2 Fraser Park FC
Western Rage vs Western NSW FC, 5pm @ Proctor Park
Western Rage make the long trip to Bathurst as they face Western NSW in the first game of the weekend. The Rage displayed their fighting spirit against Prospect with a magical second half comeback, however they were forced to settle for their fourth draw of the season. The Rage made some adjustments during the window and may begin to bleed more youth through in a bid to regain ground on the packed midfield battle.
For Western NSW it’s becoming an all too common story for them this season. They’ve been reduced to ten-men four times in their last five matches, ultimately costing them their chance at getting positive results. In addition to this they’ll be without keeper Jordan Bruce, the Bathurst based side will need to kick their season into gear come Saturday and begin to spread belief and confidence amongst the squad.
Previous Matchup: Western Rage 1-0 Western NSW FC
Camden Tigers FC vs Parramatta FC, 5pm @ Ron Dine Stadium
Camden head into this matchup full of confidence their impressive victories over Nepean and Hawkesbury. With a win here and results going their way elsewhere they could see themselves jump into a finals spot with a game in hand. The Tigers have hit a purple-patch of form and will look to continue their imposing team performances and add to the Eagles slump in form.
Parramatta started the season flying but hit a massive road-bump with injuries and suspensions shaking up their team every week. Since starting the season undefeated, the Eagles have only won twice and saw their finals position go into jeopardy as the midfield begins to apply to the pressure on the top five. With their key players beginning to return, Parramatta will look to resurge in form and solidify their spot in the highly contested battle for the finals this Saturday.
Previous Matchup: Camden Tigers FC 1-0 Parramatta FC
Nepean FC vs Hawkesbury City FC, 7pm @ Cook Park
Hawkesbury play one of their final two games on the road before having a notable eight game home stand to finish the season. It’ll be crucial for the Hawks to walk away from their next two games with positive results as they can set themselves up for a strong finish home. With a mass amount of injuries it’ll be a tough challenge but they should be confident in their squad depth and youth player’s at their disposal.
Nepean have been on a similar road the past couple of weeks, after recovering a few of their injured players they should see their best available ready for selection over the coming weeks. Nepean now sit in dangerous territory with Camden breathing down their neck for fifth spot. They’ll be eager to repeat their performance from round 1 against Hawkesbury and walk away with the points.
Previous Matchup: Nepean FC 1-0 Hawkesbury City FC
UNSW FC vs Hurstville FC, 7pm @ Hensley Athletic Field
A tantalising matchup sees UNSW host Hurstville in another potential finals preview. With the recent squad adjustments, UNSW seem to have it all clicking and will prove to be a tough test for the remainder of the season. They can jump into the finals spot for the first time this year with a win and a Nepean loss, however Hurstville have proved they can play with the best in NPL 4 and will be up for the challenge.
Hurstville will welcome back a host of players coming back from suspension and injury. Hurstville have been missing their main man up top Anthony Krkovski who sits in equal second in the golden boot race with eight goals on the season. They had a successful day out in the reverse fixture in Round 1 walking away with a neat 1-0 victory and will hope for more of the same as they look to lock down third spot on the ladder.
Previous Matchup: UNSW FC 0-1 Hurstville FC
Newcastle Jets FC vs South Coast Flame FC, 7pm @ Lake Macquarie Regional Football Centre
The Jets return to their home at Lake Macquarie as they prepare to host an in-form South Coast side. In their six games at home they’ve scored 33 goals, a daunting stat for the Flame who were on the receiving end of five of those goals in Round 1. The Jets proved their status amongst the elite in NPL 4 after dispatching Fraser Park on the road and will hope the return to home spells the continuation of their mass goal outputs.
South Coast blew Western NSW off the park in the final period of last week’s game after capitalising on a red card to score five goals. The Flame like many have been very active in May window and have seen an improvement in performances since the beginning of the window. South Coast are a very different side but will be wary of the history repeating itself, they’ll need to continue to be at their best to make the long trip up north a positive one for them.
Previous Matchup: Newcastle Jets FC 5-0 South Coast Flame FC